December 11, 2023

In France, Shira That’s usually how investors are pitched, Sahai said.

She’s a woman, black and a CEO as she walks into an investor meeting with a slide deck of her fintech startup we participate, she is often confused. “They were surprised, and there was no way to hide it,” she told me.

She’d keep pitching her company, and then: “They usually end the conversation,” she says. “Someone said to me, ‘Oh, well, good, interesting. Thanks. Goodbye.’ We were talking.”

Sahai isn’t alone in France facing this almost systematic avoidance of people like her, but you won’t find any evidence of that.The startup ecosystem of black founders in France is shrouded in mystery, especially because of France’s embrace of black founders Universalism Its color-blind approach to economic and social policy means there is little data or visibility into the racial and ethnic diversity of the startup and venture capital industries.

nation Does not track its racial diversity metrics (Former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy There was an unsuccessful attempt to change that some 14 years ago), which means that while racism continues in the country as it does elsewhere in the world, there is no conclusive evidence of it. Many black founders are reluctant to call attention to themselves and instead operate in silence, resulting in their lack of success stories.

We have to fight all these stereotypes to prove that we can do interesting things. Rodolphe-Emmanuel Hospice, Founder, Clickdoc

For those looking to get into tech, the lack of information makes it look like nothing is happening with venture capital from black founders.

Of course, this is not the case: Laura Parrier Raised $20 million in Series A funding for its fintech SaaS platform Yachting race last September; Alvi Severin closed a A round of financing of 13 million US dollars for his algae products company Algama in January; Nelly Chattou-Diop raised $2 million Last year, she invested in web3 startup Ejara; Bruno Mendes da Silva Last year, he raised $3.5 million for AI-focused data startup Heex Technologies; and Sebastian Louisan Last August, agtech startup Myditek raised $2.4 million.

Of course, this list is not comprehensive, but it is representative of the fact that Black founders can and do run fast-growing businesses in tech and beyond. “We were invited to speak, we were invited to testify,” Sahai said. “But it’s not just about wills that we’re going to be talking about. We should be invited to participate in the decision-making process. We should be funded. That’s it.”

“You can’t be their equal”

Black people in France have long faced discrimination that has been masked. Many blacks in France came from overseas or “overseas provinces” (mainly islands such as Réunion and Martinique) or were descended from immigrants and were legally French citizens. Others have ancestors from former French colonies in Africa, including Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal.

Sahai, who was born and raised in France, believes the country remains “embarrassed” by its history of enslaving and colonizing Africans and Caribbeans. Still, some founders told TechCrunch+ that deep-rooted racial stereotypes and prejudices are still pervasive in the country, manifesting as economic discrimination against black entrepreneurs.

She said the UK had a more open and honest dialogue about racism and colonialism than the UK, and the French did not want to acknowledge their own history.